WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
Conveniently forgetting their marriage anniversary, Deban has been turning into a negligent husband and a callous father. Deban ditches Mou and their daughter Sharmi for his new-found lady love who is no less than a tantalising mistress.
Mou has no other option but to seek refuge in a neighbour’s place while trying to grapple with the situation. She is left to battle all by herself the various excuses that Deban throws for his change of heart.
Things get worse when he finally sends her a divorce paper affirming that there is no looking back or room for reconciliation. Mou then decides to take up a job at her daughter’s school to make ends meet.
Life Takes a You-Turn is all about strong women and the roles they play in maintaining the fine balance between bliss and battle. It is written in a lucid and easy to understand style of writing though, the language may, at instances, seem a bit too simple. There is stress on the description as Manas Shome decides to elongate the plot by detailing the events to the tee. Each incident is given an equal measure of importance as Manas Shome builds up the multiple climaxes of a turbulent and episodic plot. It is heart-rending and inspiring at the same time.
Simultaneously runs the story of Nibedita and her daughter Ankita. The main twist in the tale is how the lives of the two girls Ankita and Sharmi coalesce and the reasons they are able to sustain a fruitful relationship.
Life Takes a You-Turn revolves around the female characters and the ups and downs that they go through in their life. Set in urban India, the story brings out the many aspects of womanhood. In this sense, it is every bit relevant as it deals with several social issues like divorce, separation, extramarital relationships, single parenthood. It also reflects the changing dynamics of family life in present-day urban India where the trend is towards a nuclear model of family life.
In general, Life Takes a You-Turn celebrates womanhood and mostly the strength that these women exude in times of crisis. Strong mothers also raise strong daughters which is a secondary facet of the novel.
Chance circumstances bring Ankita and Sharmi together in the walk of life. They had never foreseen this happening. Distant and desolate they both share similarities and differences.
After building up the plot, Shome focuses on enriching his characters. Most of them are all-around characters though, the plot is cluttered with too many foil characters as well. He gives the women a strong and independent fervour that helps them cope up with the tragedies in their lives.
It is inspiring to read about the manner in which the women deal with these difficulties and channelise their energies into doing positive things in the end. The female characters show a sense of forbearance along with a fighting spirit that comes into play at the several turns within the plot.
Life Takes a You-Turn consists of 460 pages and is lengthy, though easy, read. Some interesting chapters include Rites and Passages, Fighting it Out, Witches, Intruders and From One City to Another.
The wordplay on the word “You” in the title highlights the central idea of the book that the real powers to face and fight hardships lie within oneself. It is the turn of the women to show their real power and positions which they falter and struggle but eventually learn.
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